East Asian Languages & Cultures | Traditional Chinese Culture through Literature
E351 | 1529 | Struve


Students in this course enter intimately into the eighteenth-century
Chinese world by reading most chapters of the greatest novel ever written
in China, the quasi-autobiographical Story of the Stone (also known as
Dream of Red Chambers) by Cao Xueqin.  This incomparable work of literature
presents in fascinating material and psychological detail the life of a
young aristocrat as he comes of age in a large household of mostly female
relatives.  Numerous aspects of high and low eighteenth-century Chinese
society, culture, politics, education, economics, values, and
beliefs–especially regarding women–come vividly to light under the author's
reminiscent pen.  Students read carefully three of the five volumes of the
Hawkes-Minford translation; summaries are provided of the rest.  Background
on the era is at hand in Chinese Society in the Eighteenth Century by
Naquin and Rawski, and numerous matters are illustrated visually with
slides and videos.  Students write three papers, in both draft and final
versions, on subjects of their own choice that appear in the novel.
Extensive bibliographical help is provided by the professor.  Grades are
based one-third on class preparation and participation and two-thirds on
the papers.

Credit given for only one of E351 and HIST J400 on this topic.